Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom

FRANKLIN, Emily & Brendan Halpin. 258p. Walker. 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2345-1; pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-2359-8. LC number unavailable.
Gr 8 Up—A "he feels/she feels" story of love, friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness that could have come straight from recent headlines. When Lucas finally addresses his feelings for his best friend, Tessa, and invites her to prom, he doesn't get the answer he expects. Tessa comes out to Lucas as a lesbian, and, feeling betrayed, he does not keep her secret safe. Soon the entire nation is watching the battle that emerges, culminating in the school deciding to cancel prom rather than let Tessa attend in a tuxedo with a female date. Telling the story through alternating viewpoints, the authors do not shy away from the complex emotions each character feels as they create a realistic snapshot of a devastating situation with an uplifting conclusion. Tessa is thrust into the role of spokesperson and hero for lesbian and gay youth and has to dig into reserves of strength she didn't know she had, while Lucas has to figure out how to manage feeling betrayed and doing what he knows is right in spite of that. Everything comes together in this novel a little more happily than it tends to in real life, but the story is made entirely believable by the skill of the authors.—Sharon Senser McKellar, Oakland Public Library, CA
When Lucas asks best friend Tessa to prom, she tells him she's a lesbian. Embarrassed, Lucas outs her and her wish to bring a girl to prom, sparking outrage in their Indiana town. Tension builds as the community turns on Tessa, while Lucas struggles to make everything right. Alternating points of view narrate this emotional, character-driven story about friendship and acceptance.

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